Following the death of a loved one, the last thing a grieving family should have to deal with is the courts when it comes to the deceased's estate. Unfortunately, families throughout the United States, including many from Katy, Texas and the greater Houston area, often have to deal with such issues if the person's estate planning was not properly addressed before their death.

If you have prepared your estate plan with a will, things will be infinitely easier in the courts. They will know where and how to distribute your property and assets in accordance with the will. Unfortunately, all too often there is no will, which can make things especially complicated as the courts try to divide up the estate.

There are several problems typically associated with probate, among them time and money. It is not uncommon for probate to take anywhere from nine months to up to two years. During this time, expenses will be taken out of the estate. This generally could be anywhere between six to 10 percent, according to the American Bar Association.

To avoid such headaches, there are several ways to allocate assets which would avoid probate. They include life insurance, pension plans, IRAs, personal annuities and buy/sell agreements. In addition, if there is a joint ownership of assets, probate can be avoided. Forming a trust can also avoid probate. This will allow you to assign all your property and assets upon your death. This will be done through a trustee.

As you can see, having assets all tied up in probate can be a timely and costly endeavor. There are several ways to avoid this however, and preparing in advance to avoid probate can be very helpful to all parties involved.